The Media Mirror, 15.06.07

The Russian press expands on the U.S.-Russian anti-missile defence dispute and reaction to this dispute in Russia, speculates on whether Mr Putin should stay in his post or not, and also tells about a new turn in Kazimir Malievich’s grave-seeking affair.

Itogi has an opinion article by Polina Dashkova, a well-known detective writer who often touches on political issues in her well-researched novels. She adds her view to the discussion on the duration of a presidential term. The author thinks that for Russia four years is hardly sufficient:  Russia never before had any experience of the democratic form of government and it needs a strong individual at the helm, someone who commands respect of a vast majority of the population. The four-year term is too short to form the new elite loyal to the new President. In that sense, she says, there is no alternative to Vladimir Putin at the moment. Dashkova continues: “I am much less concerned about longer or shorter terms, successors or conspiracy, than about the total disrespect for the authority of the government among the intelligentsia. It ended badly once, in 1917, and it may happen again.”

Do we have to fear U.S. missiles at our borders? In Rossiyskaya Gazeta author Anatoly Salutsky argues that a new arms race might be good for Russia, because an asymmetric response does not require equal investment to match that of the U.S. It will also create jobs and will give a boost to scientific research. His opponent, professor Evgeny Yasin of the Higher School of Economics, says that instead of building weapons Russia should be increasing co-operation with the West, abstaining from any harsh steps that might lead to conflict, and concentrating on efforts to achieve internationally standard quality in Russian-made consumer goods.

The historical magazine Rodina presents a series of portraits of the warrior-leaders of Russia by well-known artist Ivan Glazunov. Princes, Tsars and Emperors who personally led armies in combat defending their country, now look down from the walls of the entrance hall of the newly-restored Grand Kremlin Palace.

For several decades art historians and volunteers have been looking for his grave – Kazimir Malievich. He was buried under a huge oak tree in the country not far from Moscow. The tree was cut down during WWII, the tombstone destroyed so after the war it became impossible to identify the place even by the most advanced scientific methods. Recently, writes Newsweek Russia, a senior local resident, contacted the authorities to confess that in 1941 when he was 9 he, with the help of a friend, dug up the grave, destroyed the remnants of the tombstone and scattered the ashes of the great artist around the nearest field. Just for fun. He hadn’t known whose grave it had been. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the man pointed out the exact place where the grave had been and now the monument to Malevich standing a few miles off the mark will be moved to this place.